Bar review: Restaurant Bar & Grill, City Square, Leeds

Restaurant Bar and Grill, City Square, Leeds.  Pictures: Simon Hulme
Restaurant Bar and Grill, City Square, Leeds. Pictures: Simon Hulme
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A drink in the sunshine doesn’t come much more centrally than at Restaurant Bar & Grill in busy City Square outside the train station.

It is rarely easy to walk by the spread of 20 or so tables lining the flagstones at the foot of the steps that lead up into this trendy, minimalist bar where the choice of wine and spirits is fairly exhaustive.

As the evening wears on, the professional after-work crowd, wearing suits and working on laptops, gives way to girls dressed up to the nines and smartly dressed couples who visit this long-standing establishment based in the landmark old Post Office building, both for a drink in the summer sun and for its food menu.

As you walk in off the street, there is a wall of wine that greets you; bottle after bottle stashed in a rack several metres high and long.

The furniture is modern, plush and sleek in shades of brown and black. Small tables for those here to dine stop before a spacious bar area. The bar itself is lengthy, enough to accommodate plenty of customers on a busy night.

Light filters through brightly into the bar area from tall, raised windows at the front, cut into white painted walls.

Leather finished seating and a smattering of high stools at dinky tables, decorated with tealights in glass candle holders, are positioned among low-hanging white fabric light fixtures.

The seating area becomes packed outside while casting my eyes down the wine options on the menu at the bar inside as gentle R&B/chart music plays at an unobtrusive volume in the background - the chatter from the other customers drowning it out.

There are 13 different wines by the glass, priced between £5-11, and many more available by the bottle, listed by country of origin. Classic cocktails are listed too, as well as an eye-catching selection of rums, whiskies and dessert wines, among other spirits.

There is beer on draught and in bottles, such as Moretti, Cusquena, Einstock and Beck Vier.

Opting for a small glass of Pinot Grigio, I order a ramekin of green olives served in garlic and olive oil to complement the flavour, and follow this up with a guest lager on tap, the 6.5 per cent ABV Portland Pale Ale, a deliciously deep hopped refresher of a pint.

All in I spend £14.25 - a fairly pricey couple of drinks, and while the atmosphere is good and the surroundings light, spacious and soft on the eye, the decoration lacks a bit of character and personality.

Quick service at the bar is not to be quibbled with though and it strikes me as a good place to visit with a large group when the sun is shining and there is a table free in the beer garden out the front. Somewhere to linger for a couple then move on.